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Why It’s Important to Love Fundraising

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Like many Americans, I have an inexplicable love for baseball.

One of my favorite things about baseball is how the players watch the game. When they aren’t on the field, they line up along the fence between the dugout and the field. They lean over it like a row of 10-year-old boys, chewing gum, even elbowing each other like happy kids at a game.

I get a “morning in America” feeling when I see that: The game proceeds at its stately pace, the grass is green, the hot dogs savory, and the players are aligned with their fans, enjoying the game with the same sense of joy.

All is well.

But my outlook darkens when I notice the players who aren’t watching. There are always a few of them — usually the overpaid, underperforming superstars who seem to exist to drain the teams’ budgets and make the fans stop caring.

Those guys sit glumly on the bench, enduring the game, clearly signaling that they’d rather be doing something else. You can see their weariness: After all, baseball season has 162 games, plus 30-some spring training games, plus (if they’re lucky) playoff games.

But come on! This is Big League Baseball! They’re living the dream. And they make a ton of money doing it.

If a few disengaged players are bad, imagine a whole team of them: players who find baseball an embarrassing exercise they only do so they can make their inflated salaries. They sit around and complain: about the arbitrary rules of the game and the oafish fans who put them through the whole degrading spectacle. Dreaming of a better fans.

Those teams would always lose, no matter how talented the players. Baseball itself would disappear like a guttering candle flame if teams were like that.

Here’s why I’m telling you this: Baseball isn’t the only profession that harbors people who hate their work. I suppose you meet them everywhere, but I’m sad to say I see them all the time in fundraising.

You’ve met them, too — those unhappy, wish-there-were-another-way fundraisers who feel victimized by the demands of fundraising. They’re always looking for better (usually younger) donors. They waste a lot of time and energy not raising funds because they constantly walk away from the things that work in order to flirt with anything that doesn’t seem to them like fundraising. They’re easily taken in by weasels and flim-flam artists.

Fortunately, as in baseball, there aren’t that many of them. There are also the thrilled-to-be-here, aligned-with-donors type who love the beauty of the fundraising house and are nerdily thrilled about motivating people to give.

I’m talking about you, smart fundraiser and reader of the Moceanic Blog!

They (you) make the fundraising world go ’round.

Fundraisers who love fundraising raise dramatically more money than those who wish they could find another way. Aligned fundraisers love asking for money. They know donors love giving and are enriched by the transaction. They’re excited about direct mail (and other old-line media) because they see the evidence every day that those high-touch connections touch donors’ hearts and stir them to action.

They aren’t looking for a magical formula or some amazing new social marketing phenomenon to rescue them from the day-to-day work of raising funds. They understand: they’re already tapping into the magic.

Those Shiny New Objects and Next Big Things that sweep through our profession with a lot of sound and fury but nothing to do with donors don’t interest donor-aligned fundraisers. They want real innovations that make giving easier and more compelling for donors.

When your fundraising team is full of people who love fundraising, you are in good shape. You get more good ideas and fewer bad ones. The joy spreads around the team and out to donors, who respond more and feel more connected. It’s like the difference between an army that knows it’s fighting for a just cause and one that’s been force-marched to the battle for the benefit of its masters.

If you love fundraising, you’re already on your way to being brilliant.

And that’s why I think you’re a member of the Moceanic community of smart, fact-based, donor-aligned fundraisers. And that’s why we hope to see you at one of our great online courses for fundraisers … or, even better, participating in our Coaching+ … maybe the best way there is for smart fundraisers to get even smarter and put proven innovations to work in your fundraising program.

If you think fundraising is a necessary evil, you’re in deep trouble.

No organization should tolerate anti-fundraising fundraisers. They are corrosive, and they hurt the cause. The biggest favor you can do for them is let them go—free them from fundraising so they can find something that nourishes them. And free your organization from their negative influence.

Now excuse me while I enjoy the company of some fundraisers who love fundraising!

Get practical answers for your fundraising challenges by scheduling a free 25-minute call with one of our Fundraisingologists. They will give you great free advice, and help you identify which Coaching+ program might be right for you. Click here to book your call.


  • Jeff Brooks

    Jeff Brooks is a Fundraisingologist at Moceanic. He has more than 30 years of experience in fundraising, and has worked as a writer and creative director on behalf of top nonprofits around the world, including CARE, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Feeding America, and many others.

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